NASA has announced to start its next mission in the New Frontiers line – a cost-capped class of $1 billion robotic solar-system explorers – in 2016. Also Read - NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter uses same chip as Samsung Galaxy S5, OnePlus One
New Frontiers missions are managed by a single principle investigator who is responsible for keeping the mission’s development cost under $1 billion. The cost cap does not include the price of a launch vehicle which is covered under the NASA Launch Services Programme, Spacenews reported. According to NASA’s planetary science chief Jim Green, NASA is also looking ahead to the New Frontiers competition that would begin by 2020. Also Read - NASA Perseverance Mars rover uses 1998 iMac processor with just one upgrade
“Now we are at the point where we can see the New Frontiers programme extending beyond Osiris-Rex,” Green told the Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG), an advisory panel at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. Osiris-Rex (Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification and Security-Regolith Explorer) is scheduled for launch in September 2016 to collect and return a sample of the asteroid known as Bennu, the report added. OPAG was chartered in 2004 to set science priorities for exploration of the outer solar system. Also Read - NASA astronauts complete seven hour spacewalk to prep ISS for new solar panels
For the fifth New Horizons competition in 2020, NASA will consider all the missions that do not make the cut in the fourth competition that begins in 2016.